We have received the following response to a request to clarify the situation regarding chemotherapy treatment at The William Harvey Hospital.
Thank you for your enquiry today regarding activity in the Celia Blakey Unit (CBC) at William Harvey Hospital (WHH). I will detail below what was discussed in our telephone discussion this afternoon.
Our plan originally was to temporarily transfer the chemotherapy treatments out of the CBC to the ground floor of the Arundel Unit as a temporary measure until a new facility was made available on the top floor of the building as a permanent home for the unit.
Recently it has become apparent that we had a 50% turnover of staff in the unit due to long term sickness, maternity leave and staff leaving. The result of this is that we have a serious lack of chemotherapy trained staff available to maintain the chemotherapy treatments at the WHH site. We undertook an urgent options appraisal and had to make quick decisions to act in in the interests of patient safety.
As of the 6th of July 2015 we have taken the temporary measure of increasing the activity of our state of the art Mobile Chemotherapy Unit which normally visits Hythe, Dover and Herne Bay to provide two extra days per week for patients with non-complex treatments at the WHH. Patients with complex treatment regimens are being asked to transfer to the Cathedral Day Unit ant Kent & Canterbury Hospital. This is a temporary arrangement for 9 – 12 months to allow us to recruit and train chemotherapy nurses and return them to William Harvey Hospital, hopefully to a refurbished unit.
I would like to reiterate that all other cancer services continue at the William Harvey Hospital and that it is only the chemotherapy treatments that have had to temporarily transfer.